There’s no place like Walt Disney World during the Holidays. Yuletide snacks, giant Christmas trees, life-size gingerbread houses, and Disney characters in festive attire are all things that make a Disney vacation in November and December extra magical. There’s also Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to enjoy, bringing Holiday cheer and limited-time festivities to Magic Kingdom Park. The other Disney Parks come alive with Christmas magic, too; the International Festival of the Holidays in EPCOT theme park, Sunset Season’s Greetings in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Merry Menagerie in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We can’t forget the seasonal offerings in Disney Springs either, including a snoap fall in Town Center.
There’s indeed plenty of festive fun to be had at Walt Disney World during the Christmas season. But the fun isn’t just happening in the Disney Parks and Disney Springs; the Disney Resort hotels also come alive with Christmas magic. In particular, there are several Disney Resorts that Guests must visit. If they don’t, they will miss out on some festive fun. Let’s look at the eight Walt Disney World Resort hotels that are must-visits during the Holidays.
#8 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Jambo House lobby at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is impressive year-round, but the giant Christmas tree at Christmastime makes it extra special. Its placement in the very center of the lobby is framed perfectly by the giant chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. Look closely to see the African-inspired decorations and instruments that adorn the tree. Head to the far end of the lobby, close to the savannah overlook, to see the gingerbread giraffe and zebra that feature as part of the decorations.
#7 – Disney’s Beach Club
Disney’s Beach Club Resort is filled with a beautiful gingerbread carousel during the Holiday season. Each year, the carousel takes a different theme, and this year it is inspired by the Disney princesses. Belle, Snow White, Elsa, Jasmine, and Tiana each inspire a carousel horse, and intricate details feature on each horse to help showcase each princess. There are also 22 gold Hidden Mickeys on the carousel for Guests to find while admiring the stunning creation. Can you find them all?
#6 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
There are two main Christmas decorations to admire at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Christmastime. The first is the 70-foot Christmas tree that occupies the plaza in front of the Disney Resort hotel. Decorated with 16,000 lights, 200 custom ornaments, and a 7-foot star topper, it is a Christmas landmark in Walt Disney World. While most Guests will pass it when using the Walt Disney World Transportation System buses to and from Magic Kingdom, it’s best to stop by Disney’s Contemporary Resort to appreciate just how big it is.
The second decoration to see at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary Gingerbread that is found on the 4th floor of the hotel. This year’s display features a golden Mickey and Minnie Mouse and a facade of “it’s a small world”. If you’re partial to a bit of gingerbread, pick up a treat from the Contemporary Resort gingerbread stall near the display.
#5 – Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin
Known as ‘Santa’s Favorite Resort’, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin has some wonderful Holiday decorations. You won’t want to miss the world’s largest chocolate Santa sculpture that can be found in the Swan Resort. Meanwhile, over in the Dolphin Resort is a gigantic Christmas tree to admire, covered in white poinsettias and finished with bright blue decorations. Santa’s Holiday Hangout also offers Guests the chance to meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and elf Kandy Kane. Make sure to visit during the evening to see the causeway between the two hotels come to life with Santa’s Dancing Lights Spectacular. Lights illuminate the palm trees in festive colors in time with the music.
#4 – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Despite being a vast Resort, Disney’s Fort Wilderness is a special place to visit during the Holidays. During the evening, it’s a beautiful place to take a stroll, admiring the Christmas lights that Guests use to decorate their campsites, RVs, and cabins. You may even like the sound of a Holiday Sleigh Ride around the Resort, available to book throughout the Christmas season. The Fort Wilderness Christmas Golf Cart Parade is awesome to watch if your Disney vacation ties in with Christmas week.
#3 – Disney’s Yacht Club
The Christmas decorations at Disney’s Yacht Club are arguably the most underrated Resort decorations in the Walt Disney World Resort. Nautical attire adorns the Christmas trees, garlands, and wreaths, giving the grand lobby a cozy feel. But the main sight is the Christmas village that features a working train. Admire the intricate details that are visible throughout the Christmas village. Make sure to take a look around the whole village, which you’ll find near Ale & Compass.
#2 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa becomes even more beautiful during this festive time of year. A Victorian-inspired Christmas tree is the lobby’s centerpiece, offering the perfect backdrop for a family Christmas photo. But the main event at the Deluxe Disney Resort is the life-sized gingerbread house that serves up sweet treats for Guests to buy from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. The purple, blue and gold decorations perfectly tie in with the 50th-anniversary celebrations, and the detailing is second to none.
#1 – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
The sight of the lobby at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge during the Holidays is one to behold. The magnificent Christmas tree filled with Pacific Northwest-inspired decorations offers the perfect centerpiece, making it our number 1 Disney Resort hotel to visit at Christmas. Wreaths, garlands, and smaller trees can also be found around the Resort, giving it a cozy feel. Don’t forget to look above the main entrance to see a beautiful display of deer and trees that are lit with fairy lights.
Which Disney Resort hotels are on your list to visit during the Holidays? Make sure to see them all if your plans allow, to avoid missing out on the festive sights!